The news is overflowing with Elizabeth Taylor today after her death from heart failure at age 79. She defeated the “Beast” (death ) more than once in her life.
Sometime in 1961 she was nearly pronounced dead from double pneumonia and claimed she had “seen the light” meaning I take it the light that many dying people see as they die. But she lived on to make more films, wed more men, and be a Hollywood icon to the end of her days.
She won an Oscar in 1961 for her role in “Butterfield 8″ but at that time I recall reading that her Oscar was given her because she had nearly died from the pneumonia already mentioned. I never saw many of oher movies although I was a teen ager in the early part of her hey-day. I saw “Lassie Come Home” but do not remember her in it and I saw “Father of the Bride” and I do remember her stunning beauty even in a black and white film.
She was born with a double row of eyelashes (black ones) which enhanced her screen appearance easily. Her blue-violet eyes were also stunning. She had to be one of the most beautiful of Hollywood stars of her era which was loaded with other beautiful women…Janet Leigh, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Powell, Jane Russell, Lana Turner,Marilyn Monroe…the list can go on and on in that era of great beauty being the hallmark for a successful film star. When she was first introduced to film makers at the young age of 9, one person who had participated in her try-outs said “she can’t sing, she can’t dance, she can’t act!” and said that she should not be given any roles in his opinion, but that did not happen. Her beauty could not be wasted even if she lacked the necessary talent for Hollywood movies of the 40′s.
Taylor had many husbands in her lifetime. She broke up the fairytale marriage of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and then went on to take up with Richard Burton while she was married to Fisher. I remember hearing a joke in 1962 about Taylor and Fisher. It went like this:
In the middle of the night Eddie wakes up Liz and says “Liz, I have to go to the bathroom.”
Liz is angry at being wakened and she snaps at Eddie “Why are you waking me up to tell me that”.
Eddie replies “I want you to save my place”.
One writer said today that she spent as much time in a hospital bed as she did walking down the aisle. Her many marriages included 7 husbands and 8 marriages..two to Richard Burton. Another observer once said that Mike Todd, who died, was the love of her life…but who knows with so many candidates? Her many marriages came in the times when morality counted a lot more in our culture….now lots of so called stars have multiple shack ups and never marry but Elizabeth married them all….I think! Maybe the one Iranian boyfriend later in her life was the one she did not marry. But all the others were “legal”.
I saw a picture of her with her children and they look like aging people….a testimony to her long life and her many marriages with children from 4 of them.
It is the end of a turbulent life of a real bona fide “Movie Star”.